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Sahara Wind - Home arrow Wind Market Trends
Wind Energy Market Developments PDF Print E-mail
In order to take advantage of its technological advance, the European wind energy industry is currently focused on developing its offshore wind potentials. Although challenging from a technical standpoint and even if it is not applicable to every EU country, this option enables developers to overcome most on-shore limitations hampering the land expansion of wind power. Since this industry has thrived on subsidized premium prices paid for wind electricity available in Europe, it must be noted that the costly offshore wind option tends to reinforce further the justifications for sustaining high prices.

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E-112 Wind Turbine tower segment of 180 tons (Enercon)
Consequently, the current research in European wind turbine designs is focused on the development of larger machines. Per unit installed, these are likely to limit the costs their offshore foundations. As the power of a wind turbine is multiplied by four when its rotor diameter is doubled, added productivity can be obtained. A reduced number of wind turbines will impact maintenance costs as well. This can be particularly relevant considering their more difficult access and operations in corrosive marine environments.

Under such circumstances, neither wind turbines exports nor their integration to support the developing world's growing energy needs will be achieved. While new wind installation rates on the European continent are rather decreasing, a third of the world's 370 GW wind capacity remained on EU-grounds in 2014 (source: GWEC, WWEA).

The Sahara Trade Winds provide an ideal setting for wind technologies to expand into developing countries. Within Europe, high offshore wind costs and the saturation to further wind developments by fossil generating capacities have raised some levels of concerns within the industry. Indeed, a drop of wind turbine orders in Germany and Spain paved the way to larger markets such as the USA and China with 65 and 115 GW of respective installed capacities. From the year 2010, China has become the global wind energy leader, producing and installing approximately 50 % of the World's market.

Before expanding to the US and Asian markets, the wind power industry initiated in Denmark, Germany and subsequently Spain, demonstrated the importance of the Atlantic trade winds for the region's future. Through similar approaches, integrated wind industries will likely consolidate North Africa's economic growth. As a base for large wind projects, the Sahara coastline provides ideal grounds for a capacity built-up, enabling an entire wind energy industry to be transferred. Based on sound economics and the creation of local jobs, the Sahara Wind project will enable wind energy to spread more sustainably into the developing world.

Spanish and Chinese wind industries demonstrated that the transfer of manufacturing facilities from Germany and Denmark provided significant cost reductions on domestic wind capacities. Building upon such experience, wind power generated in exceptionally good wind regions through dedicated machines, manufactured locally at lower labor costs will be very competitive.

By substantially boosting the region’s economic prospects, benefits provided by an enhanced access to electricity will also contribute to the social stability of rather desolate areas. Within today's tumultuous context, the energy security of North Africa and its European neighbors can be sustainably improved.

Since wind turbines represent over 80% of the Sahara Wind Project's investment with 20% remaining for the HVDC line, the design of dedicated lower-cost wind turbines will improve the Project's economics, making it more competitive. In fact, several projects of the size of Sahara Wind's (10-GW Mega Wind Farms connected to HVDC lines) are built in China's Inner-Mongolia region. As new ones are also considered in the United States, these set good precedents in enabling wind turbine components manufacturing to take place locally. Such level of project integration opens a critical debate on how to comprehensively address the growing electrification needs of most developing countries.

 
 
   
   
     
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